Shanna Zolman Began Enjoying Basketball After she Made Jesus the ‘Ultimate Leader’ in her Life (Gospel Light Minute #238)

She is a professional basketball player who plays for the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA. She was drafted 16th overall in 2006 by the San Antonio Silver Stars after completing college at the University of Tennessee. At Tennessee, she is the 9th scorer in the school’s women’s basketball history. She is also an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

She said of her journey to faith in Christ, “I was raised in the great basketball state of Indiana and I began dribbling a basketball not long after I learned to walk.

“Then at the age of seven, I made the decision to become a Christian. A couple years ago something very interesting happened to me. I was going through a major slump in my game. The first half of my junior season at the University of Tennessee was the worst I have ever had as an athlete. I placed the blame on many different things, but the slump remained. God really got my attention, and I realized that I had been trying to find significance and fulfillment in my success as a basketball player instead of finding it in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

“When I got my priorities back in order and looked to Him as the ultimate Leader for my life, I began to enjoy basketball again. My life and my game are far from perfect, but I realize that Jesus is the One Who gives meaning and purpose to it all.”

Her name is Shanna Zolman. Continue reading “Shanna Zolman Began Enjoying Basketball After she Made Jesus the ‘Ultimate Leader’ in her Life (Gospel Light Minute #238)”

NBA Player and Olympic Gold-medalist Michael Redd: I Want People to Say, ‘He Loved God and Represented Christ Well’ (Gospel Light Minute #223)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

He is a retired professional basketball player. In 2000, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and in 2002 set a then-NBA record after making eight three-point field goals in the fourth quarter. He was named to both the NBA All-Star and All-NBA Third Team in 2004. In 2011, he signed with the Phoenix Suns before retiring in 2013. Midway through his NBA career, he played for Team USA in the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament and went on to win gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In a piece for Beyond the Ultimate, he described how he came to faith in Christ and what it has meant for his NBA success:

“I grew up in a Bible-believing home, my father being a pastor for 30 years; it’s all I’ve known. I received Jesus Christ [into my heart] when I was 17 years old but He didn’t really become personal to me until [some time after that]. It took some experiences, some trials and tribulations, that’s what helped develop my relationship with Christ over the last few years.

“God is Love, His Love is unconditional. God has pulled me out of situations that I knew I shouldn’t be in. But in His mercy, He loves me so much that He gives me a second chance [and] a third chance. I handle temptation by staying rooted in [reading and knowing] the Bible, and prayer. You literally have to do those things to avoid temptations. I walk in [God’s] Spirit and surround myself with people that love God and continue to encourage me.

“My dad is my role model, my hero. My dad has taught me everything I know as far as life and basketball. He has had a great impact on my life…to see what he’s gone through to be a fulltime dad, pastor and husband; it’s not an easy thing to do. Those are things I value, that is success.

“Success is being obedient to what God is telling you to do. Worldly achievements [like playing in the NBA] are a blessing from God, but not ultimate success. Winning championships, the Hall of Fame, or being mentioned as one of the best—MVP, these are not ultimate success.

“I believe basketball is the greatest sport in the world! But basketball is not who I am. I value my faith and my family more than basketball. After everything is said and done…after I retire, I want people to say, ‘He loved God and he represented Christ well.’”

His name is Michael Redd.

This is the “Chief of Sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, reminding you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me. Just as Michael Redd gave his life to Christ, may I encourage you to do the same. Here is how:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Remember, friend, Believe by faith. Share the faith. and Keep the faith!

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

Alana Beard: ‘Good Things Will Come if I Wait On the Lord’ (Gospel Light Minute #223)

She is currently a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. In high school, she led her team to four consecutive state titles and was named a WBCA All-American. In college at Duke University, she became the first NCAA basketball player to collect over 2,600 points, 500 assist and 400 steals. She helped her team reach two Final Fours. Since being drafted, she has played in 4 WNBA All-Star games and in 2016, she helped the Sparks win the WNBA championship.

Growing up, she and her family attended church at Greenwood Acres Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana and at the age of 13, she gave her life to Christ. In an article for Sports Spectrum, there is a reason she doesn’t allow all the hype to go to her head. She said, “I believe in being humble because it’s in the Bible. Whenever I’m having problems or feel that nothing is going right, I always go to Matthew 6:25-32, which says that if you seek God’s kingdom first, everything else will be fine. Of course, I want to be the best. But I also believe in being patient. I know that good things will come when I wait on the Lord.”

Her name is Alana Beard. Continue reading “Alana Beard: ‘Good Things Will Come if I Wait On the Lord’ (Gospel Light Minute #223)”

Tyler Zeller: Winning the Right Way With Jesus (Gospel Light Minute #198)

Tyler Zeller
Tyler Zeller

He is a professional basketball player who plays the center and power forward positions for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. In high school, he was named “Mr. Basketball” as well as a McDonald’s All-American. He played college basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was named the ACC Player of the Year in his senior year. In 2009, North Carolina won the NCAA championship against Michigan State. He was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2012 NBA draft and traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers that same night. He played for the Cavaliers from 2012 to 2014 before being traded to the Boston Celtics.

In an interview with Athletes In Action, he said of his faith, “I’ve got to give my parents a lot of credit for making me the person I am today. They took me to church every Sunday. As a little kid you draw pictures and everything, but over time you start to develop an appreciation for that, and you start to pay attention.

I came to faith my freshman year of high school. My brother took me to a couple of Bible studies and then to a camp, which is really where I got to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I embraced that as my own – what He did for us, how He died on the cross and took all our sins away and gave us the life that we shouldn’t be able to have.

Being competitive and being a Christian can go hand in hand. You’ve got to go out and play hard and compete, but you also have to do it in a Christian way. If you lose, you can be hard on yourself, but you don’t want to go curse up a storm, hit somebody and all this. It’s about the way you act. You can be very competitive, but you’ve got to be able to win in the right way and lose in the right way.

Audience of One is a huge concept in my life. It means that even though you have all these fans and things going on, your audience is really only God. Your main focus is on what He believes about you, not what all these people think. Maybe you missed a game-winning shot and you’re very frustrated. But God still loves you, and there’s a purpose for everything. Maybe He wanted you to miss that shot to learn a lesson, or there’s something down the road, or maybe you just weren’t supposed to win that game. There’s always something. When you can understand that, it makes life so much easier. You can go out – you’re going to lose, you’re going to be frustrated at times – but you can come back and know that God’s got a purpose for you. He’s going to give you what you need to have, but He’s also going to challenge you in ways. When you face challenges, it’s going to develop perseverance in you and help you, and going forward it will make you a stronger person and a stronger Christian.

The line that I always use is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I know if you look at the actual verse it’s not speaking in terms of basketball, but God really does strengthen me emotionally and physically. He’s always with me, always getting me through things, in basketball and in life.”

His name is Tyler Zeller. Continue reading “Tyler Zeller: Winning the Right Way With Jesus (Gospel Light Minute #198)”

How Studying and Applying the Bible Led WNBA Player, Monica Wright, to Faith in Christ (Gospel Light Minute #196)

Monica Wright
Monica Wright

She is a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. She played college basketball at the University of Virginia and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year. As a senior, she was named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and National Defensive Player of the Year. She was also selected as a member of the USA Women’s U19 team which won the gold medal at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship in Slovakia. She has won two WNBA championship titles in 2011 and 2013.

In an interview with CBN, she talked about her faith in Jesus Christ. As a new college student at UVA, she was focused on playing basketball and making good grades. She said of that time, “I’m a basketball player, so I need to play basketball and do well on the court; I need to make good grades so that I can stay eligible. There was no time to try to figure out who I was because who I was, was a student-athlete at that time.” Besides playing and studying, she also partied and by the time she arrived at her senior year, she began to feel that something was missing in her life. She said, “Once you come to your end you want to make sure that there was probably a little bit more purpose to your journey. You want to look back and see, ‘what did I do? What was my legacy?’ I felt like maybe I should be doing something more constructive. There was something missing.”

Around that time, she began to notice the difference in the lives of other Christian athletes. She said, “There was something I desired they had, and I wanted to know what it was but I never went up to them and asked them. Maybe it was something I was afraid of or insecure about so God came up to me.” After meeting a local pastor on a bus ride one day, she began studying the Bible with his wife on a regular basis. She said, “At first I was trying to find fault with her and see where I could catch her in a contradiction. At the time I was taking a German philosophy class where I learned about Martin Luther and his works. Both the class and the pastor’s wife challenged my thinking. I’m reading these books (95 Thesis) and studying with this lady about the Bible, the solidity of the Bible, and what the Bible is and how true it is and how can we be sure. She really wanted me to search it out for myself and read who canonized the Bible, the Council of Nicea, what happened? When people were deciding what books to put in the Bible; what books were left out? Why were they left out?”

The more she studied, the more God began to work in her life and she started making some changes. She said, “I just stopped cold turkey stopped doing some of the things I was doing; drinking, going out, partying, dressing in a certain way. My language changed altogether. My attitude changed about my teammates and basketball changed altogether.” After further Bible study, she began to realize that she needed more than just knowledge. She said, “Okay, I’m over this. I’ve looked and studied and read everything there is to read, bottom line is me as a person I’m not who I want to be. I’ve read scripture upon scripture about how I can change my everyday life. I’ve done it, I’ve put it into action. Overall I can’t be who I need to be without Christ.”

After a while, she went to a small church and gave her heart to Jesus Christ. After she was baptized, she said, “I had people there who knew me as well but didn’t know I was studying the Bible and they were like, ‘wow, is this the Monica we know?’ And it was awesome, I went into the tub they dunked me in and it was just great. I never cry—and I never, ever cry in public—but that day I bawled. I let it out in front of the whole church. I couldn’t contain it.” SIx weeks later in April 2010, her lifelong dream of playing in the WNBA came true as she was selected by the Minnesota Lynx as the second overall pick.

She said, “God has spoken to my heart and said this is a pause in preparation for more that I have planned for you in the future. I trust Him. I’m just going to hold fast to those promises and knowing that He has the best intent for me and He knows exactly what I need.”

Her name is Monica Wright.

Chris Paul says he’s Thankful his Parents Taught him to Have Faith in God (Gospel Light Minute #195)

Chris Paul
Chris Paul

He is a professional basketball player who currently plays the point guard position for the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA. He played college basketball at Wake Forest University. He was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets and played there from 2005 to 2011 before joining the Clippers. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2006 and an Olympic gold medal with USA Men’s basketball team in 2008 and 2012. He also led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times from 2008 to 2015. He has also been selected to eight NBA All-Star teams, six All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams. Since 2013, he has served as the National Basketball Players Association president.

He said of his faith: “I am a Christian. I grew up in the church and still go to church every Sunday if we don’t have practice. It’s always something that my parents instilled in me. I’ve grown to be pretty devout in my faith. I am so thankful that my parents raised me and my brother, C.J. to depend on God’s guidance and our faith in Him, and to always be thankful for what we receive. As I went through the past year, I just kept trying to have fun, knowing that I was playing basketball at the highest level, and remain humble, keeping in mind that all this [I have received] could be taken away from me as fast as it was happening.”

His name is Chris Paul. Continue reading “Chris Paul says he’s Thankful his Parents Taught him to Have Faith in God (Gospel Light Minute #195)”

Stephen Curry: ‘Basketball Gives Me the Opportunity to Point People to the Man Who Died On the Cross for Our Sins’ (Gospel Light Minute #194)

Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry

He is a professional basketball player who currently plays the point guard position for the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. He played college basketball for Davidson University where he was twice named Southern Conference Player of the Year and set the all-time scoring record for both Davidson and the Southern Conference. He also set the single-season NCAA record for three-pointers made in his Sophomore year. He was twice named an NBA All-Star and in the 2014-2015 season, exceeded his own NBA record of 272 three-pointers with his 273rd on April 9, 2015. He is a two-time gold medalist as a member of the United States men’s national basketball team in both 2010 and 2014. He is also a silver medalist with the Under-19 USA team in 2007.

In an article for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he said of his faith: Continue reading “Stephen Curry: ‘Basketball Gives Me the Opportunity to Point People to the Man Who Died On the Cross for Our Sins’ (Gospel Light Minute #194)”

UConn Coach, Kevin Ollie, ‘On a Personal Crusade to Lift Christ Up in Everything I Do’ (Gospel Light Minute #193)

Kevin Ollie
Kevin Ollie

He is the current head coach of the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team. He played for 12 teams in the NBA for 13 seasons from 1997 to 2010. His teams included the Dallas Mavericks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2012, he was named the head basketball coach at Connecticut, replacing longtime hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun. In 2014, he led the Huskies to defeat top-ranked Florida in the First Final Four national semifinal of the NCAA Tournament. They went on to beat the Kentucky Wildcats in the championship game that same year for Connecticut’s fourth NCAA men’s championship in fifteen years. Continue reading “UConn Coach, Kevin Ollie, ‘On a Personal Crusade to Lift Christ Up in Everything I Do’ (Gospel Light Minute #193)”

NBA Player, Richard Jefferson, says he Has ‘Confidence Because he Can Do All Things Through Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #192)

Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson

He is a professional NBA basketball player who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft. He previously played for the New Jersey Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors, and the Utah Jazz. In 2002, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He was also a member of the USA men’s national basketball team at the 2003 Tournament of the Americas and the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.

His parents were both Christian missionaries, and he moved frequently throughout his young life. He said, “My life has always been a mix of church and basketball. But through tough moments and times of extreme growth, I still have confidence, not because of my athletic success but because of Philippians 4:13. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ When I step out on the court I don’t believe there’s anybody I can’t guard, I don’t believe that there’s a shot that I can’t make.”

He also said, “I don’t think anyone can call themselves a finely-tuned Christian. It’s an everyday struggle. I’m a perfectionist, and if I mess up I’ll feel so guilty that I won’t read my Bible, then it’s a snowball effect. I really need to get to [that place of] consistency. I know God is teaching me, and I feel extremely blessed.”

His name is Richard Jefferson. Continue reading “NBA Player, Richard Jefferson, says he Has ‘Confidence Because he Can Do All Things Through Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #192)”

Dwight Howard Wants to ‘Raise the Name of God in the NBA and the World’ (Gospel Light Minute #187)

Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard

He is a professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the NBA. After an outstanding high school career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, he entered the 2004 NBA Draft, and was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. He played for the Orlando Magic until 2012 and the Los Angeles Lakers until 2013, before moving on to the Houston Rockets. He is an 8 time NBA All-Star, 7 time All-NBA team selection, 5 time ALL-NBA First Team selection, and 3 time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Orlando Magic to three division titles and one conference title. In the 2008 Olympics, he was the starting center for Team USA, which went on to win the gold medal. He has led the NBA in rebounds five times and in blocks twice.

Before he was drafted in 2004, he told ESPN that he wanted to use his NBA career and Christian faith to “raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world”. He said of his faith, “I’m down to earth. I’m laid back. I just like to make sure people smile. I want to be able to speak to non-Christians so that I can get them saved or change their lives around. Everybody needs to realize that it doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, you still can be a Christian and live for God. It’s not easy but that’s why we have God’s Word and He forgives us when we do something we shouldn’t be doing. You know, God sent His Son to die for us and He paid that sacrifice so you can go to Heaven.

His name is Dwight Howard. Continue reading “Dwight Howard Wants to ‘Raise the Name of God in the NBA and the World’ (Gospel Light Minute #187)”